Monthly Archives: August 2018

BlackBerry co-founders establish $100-million quantum computing fund – National

WATERLOO, Ont. – BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin have established a $100-million fund to commercialize quantum computing, an emerging field they say could revolutionize information technology.

They say the Waterloo region in southwestern Ontario could be a focal point for new jobs and new industries, much as California’s Silicon Valley became a hub for advances in conventional computing.

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Lazaridis and Fregin collaborated to found the company formerly known as Research In Motion in 1984, which became Canada’s leading high technology company through its pioneering efforts in smartphones.

The company recently changed its name to BlackBerry (TSX:BB) in keeping with its main product line.

Fregin, 53, retired from RIM in 2007 after serving as vice-president of operations.

Lazaridis is the more prominent of the two, having served as co-chairman and co-chief executive of the company with Jim Balsillie until early last year when they were replaced in those posts by Thorsten Heins.

Lazaridis was also a driving force behind the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, which was conceived as a world leading centre for research.

He and Fregin say they believe the new fund will complement the institute’s work.

“Nothing you see in the classical technology world can prepare you for what you will see in the quantum technology revolution,” Lazaridis said in a statement.

Quantum theory explains the behaviour of particles and energy at extremely small scales — smaller than atoms that were once considered the building block of all matter.

Quantum computing could make use of the phenomenon to make computations faster than digital electronic technology, which is the basis of conventional computing.

©2013The Canadian Press

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Canadian turns down prestigious research award

TORONTO – The Gairdner Foundation announced the winners of its prestigious international awards for medical research Wednesday, but one of the recipients turned down the $100,000 prize because two key collaborators weren’t included.

Michael Houghton, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Alberta, declined the Canada Gairdner International Award, which he was chosen to receive with two Americans, Dr. Harvey Alter of the National Institutes of Health and Daniel Bradley of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The trio were awarded the prize for their combined research, which led to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus and subsequent preventive screening tests that have virtually eliminated the spread of the virus through blood transfusions.

Houghton said he was honoured to have been chosen for the award, but felt it would be unfair to accept it without the inclusion of two key collaborators in the research, Qui-Lim Choo and George Kuo, who worked for Chiron Corp., now owned by Novartis.

“The three of us worked closely together for almost seven years to discover this very elusive and challenging virus using a novel approach in the field of infectious disease,” he said by email from Edmonton.

“Together, we then went on to develop blood tests that protected the global blood supply, to identify new drug targets that led to the development of new potent therapeutics and to obtain the first evidence for a protective vaccine.”

Houghton congratulated Alter and Bradley, with whom he, Choo and Kuo have shared previous awards for their work on hepatitis C, which has infected about 150 million people worldwide and can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and can be fatal if untreated.

Dr. John Dirks, president and scientific director of the Gairdner, said the foundation stands by its choice of winners.

“We’re very proud of the adjudication system,” Dirks said of the selection process, which involves two panels of leading Canadian and international scientists. “We believe that we provided the correct analysis and got the right people.

“Obviously we’re disappointed because we would have liked to have honoured him,” Dirks said of Houghton.

The winners of four other Gairdners, which are known as the “baby Nobels,” in part because 80 recipients have gone on to win the world’s most sought-after scientific prize, were also announced Wednesday.

Stephen Joseph Elledge of the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School in Boston also won a Canada Gairdner International Award for pioneering work that led to a new way of thinking about DNA damage. His research has been translated into a better understanding of how cancer occurs and different ways to treat it.

Also honoured with an International Gairdner was Sir Gregory Winter, a genetic engineer at Cambridge University in the U.K., who discovered how to create synthetic human antibodies that would not be rejected by the immune system.

Winter’s work has led to the development of antibody-based treatments that target infectious diseases, inflammatory conditions and several cancers, among them the drugs Herceptin, Avastin and Humira.

The Canada Gairdner Global Health Award, recognizing a scientist whose research has made, or has the potential to make, a significant impact on health in the developing world, goes to Dr. King Holmes of the University of Washington’s Center for AIDS and STD.

Holmes has spent 45 years researching sexually transmitted diseases. His work has led to many diagnostic tests and therapies for treating and preventing numerous infections, including human papilloma virus, gonorrhea, chlamydia and genital herpes.

The Canada Gairdner Wightman Award, given to a Canadian researcher who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in medical science throughout his or her career, goes to Dr. James Hogg, professor emeritus in pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of British Columbia.

Hogg’s research, achieved over a 40 year career, has had a major impact on the understanding of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.

“It was absolutely a surprise. I was flabbergasted,” Hogg said in an interview after arriving in Toronto from Vancouver for the announcement.

“It’s a lifetime award, so I really accept it as a recognition of the work that’s going on in the respiratory field in Canada. And I hope it will bring some recognition for chronic obstructive lung disease, COPD, because it’s a very important disease worldwide and in Canada.

“I’m very deeply honoured.”

The Gairdner Awards, which include $100,000 for each recipient, will be presented at a gala dinner in Toronto on October 24.

©2013The Canadian Press

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Extended forecasts for BC issued by Environment Canada

Extended forecasts for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for British Columbia issued by Environment Canada at 05:00 pdt Wednesday 20 March 2013.

Metro Vancouver: Friday, sunny. Low 1. High 9. Saturday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 0. High 8. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 0. High 9. Monday, sunny. Low 1. High 13. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 3. High 13.

Greater Victoria: Friday, sunny. Low 0. High 9. Saturday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low -1. High 7. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 0. High 9. Monday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 1. High 13. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 3. High 13.

Fraser Valley: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 1. High 9. Saturday, cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Low 1. High 7. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 0. High 11. Monday, sunny. Low 1. High 15. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 3. High 15.

Howe Sound: Friday, sunny. Low -2. High 9. Saturday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 6. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -1. High 11. Monday, sunny. Low 0. High 13. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 2. High 13.

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Whistler: Friday, sunny. Low -7. High 5. Saturday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -8. High 5. Sunday, sunny. Low -5. High 7. Monday, sunny. Low -1. High 12. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 1. High 13.

Sunshine Coast: Friday, sunny. Low 0. High 9. Saturday, cloudy. Low 0. High 8. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 1. High 9. Monday, sunny. Low 0. High 13. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 3. High 13.

Southern Gulf Islands: Friday, sunny. Low -1. High 8. Saturday, cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Low 0. High 7. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 1. High 8. Monday, sunny. Low 0. High 13. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 3. High 13.

East Vancouver Island: Friday, sunny. Low 0. High 9. Saturday, cloudy. Low -3. High 7. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 10. Monday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 13. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. Low 1. High 12.

West Vancouver Island: Friday, sunny. Low -1. High 9. Saturday, periods of rain. Low 2. High 6. Sunday, cloudy. Low 3. High 8. Monday, cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 2. High 11. Tuesday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 4. High 11.

Inland Vancouver Island: Friday, sunny. Low -3. High 10. Saturday, cloudy. Low -2. High 6. Sunday, cloudy. Low 1. High 10. Monday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 0. High 12. Tuesday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 3. High 12.

North Vancouver Island: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 1. High 8. Saturday, periods of rain. Low 1. High 7. Sunday, cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Low 4. High 10. Monday, cloudy. Low 2. High 11. Tuesday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 4. High 10.

Central Coast – coastal sections: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -3. High 8. Saturday, cloudy with 70 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. Low -2. High 8. Sunday, cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. Low 2. High 10. Monday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of rain showers or flurries. Low 2. High 9. Tuesday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 2. High 9.

Central Coast – inland sections: Friday, sunny. Low -9. High 8. Saturday, cloudy with 40 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. Low -8. High 7. Sunday, cloudy. Low -1. High 12. Monday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -3. High 10. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -1. High 10.

North Coast – coastal sections: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -3. High 5. Saturday, periods of rain. Low 1. High 5. Sunday, periods of rain. Low 4. High 7. Monday, rain. Low 2. High 8. Tuesday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 2. High 8.

North Coast – inland sections: Friday, sunny. Low -2. High 5. Saturday, cloudy with 70 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. Low -4. High 4. Sunday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Low 0. High 5. Monday, cloudy with 40 percent chance of rain showers or flurries. Low 1. High 8. Tuesday, cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Low 2. High 8.

Haida Gwaii: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 0. High 6. Saturday, rain. Windy. Low 3. High 7. Sunday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 5. High 9. Monday, periods of rain. Low 5. High 8. Tuesday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 4. High 9.

Okanagan Valley: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 8. Saturday, sunny. Low -4. High 8. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 10. Monday, sunny. Low -2. High 13. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -1. High 13.

Similkameen: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -4. High 5. Saturday, sunny. Low -7. High 6. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -6. High 9. Monday, sunny. Low 0. High 14. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 1. High 14.

Fraser Canyon: Friday, sunny. Low -1. High 7. Saturday, sunny. Low -3. High 9. Sunday, sunny. Low 0. High 11. Monday, sunny. Low -1. High 13. Tuesday, sunny. Low 1. High 14.

Nicola: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -3. High 7. Saturday, sunny. Low -6. High 9. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -3. High 9. Monday, sunny. Low 0. High 14. Tuesday, sunny. Low 1. High 14.

South Thompson: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -4. High 8. Saturday, sunny. Low -4. High 9. Sunday, sunny. Low -1. High 11. Monday, sunny. Low -1. High 14. Tuesday, sunny. Low 1. High 15.

Shuswap: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 7. Saturday, sunny. Low -4. High 8. Sunday, sunny. Low -2. High 9. Monday, sunny. Low -2. High 12. Tuesday, sunny. Low -1. High 13.

100 MILE: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -9. High 2. Saturday, sunny. Low -9. High 3. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -6. High 7. Monday, sunny. Low -5. High 9. Tuesday, sunny. Low -3. High 10.

Chilcotin: Friday, sunny. Low -18. High 0. Saturday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -16. High 2. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -12. High 6. Monday, sunny. Low -10. High 9. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -7. High 10.

Cariboo: Friday, sunny. Low -4. High 4. Saturday, sunny. Low -9. High 5. Sunday, sunny. Low -6. High 8. Monday, sunny. Low -7. High 9. Tuesday, sunny. Low -5. High 10.

Prince George: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -9. High 1. Saturday, sunny. Low -11. High 2. Sunday, sunny. Low -7. High 5. Monday, sunny. Low -8. High 9. Tuesday, sunny. Low -6. High 10.

YellowHead: Friday, sunny. Low -12. High 1. Saturday, sunny. Low -11. High 3. Sunday, sunny. Low -8. High 4. Monday, sunny. Low -8. High 8. Tuesday, sunny. Low -7. High 9.

McGregor: Friday, sunny. Low -11. High 1. Saturday, sunny. Low -12. High 2. Sunday, sunny. Low -8. High 6. Monday, sunny. Low -8. High 8. Tuesday, sunny. Low -6. High 9.

Williston: Friday, sunny. Low -12. High -1. Saturday, sunny. Low -13. High 1. Sunday, sunny. Low -9. High 5. Monday, sunny. Low -8. High 7. Tuesday, sunny. Low -6. High 7.

Bulkley Valley and The Lakes: Friday, sunny. Low -10. High 3. Saturday, cloudy. Low -8. High 4. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 8. Monday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -3. High 9. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 9.

West Columbia: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -4. High 4. Saturday, sunny. Low -6. High 5. Sunday, sunny. Low -4. High 6. Monday, sunny. Low -3. High 10. Tuesday, sunny. Low -2. High 10.

East Columbia: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -7. High 4. Saturday, sunny. Low -8. High 3. Sunday, sunny. Low -8. High 5. Monday, sunny. Low -8. High 6. Tuesday, sunny. Low -7. High 7.

North Columbia: Friday, sunny. Low -9. High 5. Saturday, sunny. Low -10. High 5. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -8. High 6. Monday, sunny. Low -6. High 9. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -5. High 9.

Kinbasket: Friday, sunny. Low -8. High 3. Saturday, sunny. Low -11. High 5. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -7. High 5. Monday, sunny. Low -7. High 8. Tuesday, sunny. Low -6. High 9.

Yoho Park – Kootenay Park: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -11. High -3. Saturday, sunny. Low -18. High -3. Sunday, sunny. Low -11. High -1. Monday, sunny. Low -11. High 4. Tuesday, sunny. Low -10. High 6.

North Thompson: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -9. High 5. Saturday, sunny. Low -9. High 5. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -7. High 7. Monday, sunny. Low -4. High 10. Tuesday, sunny. Low -3. High 11.

Boundary: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -1. High 8. Saturday, sunny. Low -3. High 9. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low 1. High 10. Monday, sunny. Low -3. High 12. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 13.

Arrow Lakes – Slocan Lake: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 6. Saturday, sunny. Low -4. High 7. Sunday, sunny. Low -3. High 7. Monday, sunny. Low -4. High 10. Tuesday, sunny. Low -3. High 11.

West Kootenay: Friday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -1. High 7. Saturday, sunny. Low -3. High 7. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 8. Monday, sunny. Low -3. High 12. Tuesday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -2. High 12.

Kootenay Lake: Friday, cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Low -1. High 6. Saturday, sunny. Low -1. High 6. Sunday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -3. High 7. Monday, sunny. Low -5. High 10. Tuesday, sunny. Low -4. High 11.

East Kootenay: Friday, cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Low -3. High 3. Saturday, sunny. Low -7. High 4. Sunday, sunny. Low -5. High 6. Monday, sunny. Low -6. High 9. Tuesday, sunny. Low -5. High 10.

Elk Valley: Friday, cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Low -7. High -1. Saturday, a mix of sun and cloud. Low -10. High 0. Sunday, sunny. Low -9. High 3. Monday, sunny. Low -8. High 6. Tuesday, sunny. Low -7. High 8.

©2013The Canadian Press

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Mental health of survivors after a natural disaster often overlooked, says expert – National

TORONTO – Almost two weeks after the northeastern United States was hammered by Sandy, efforts by New York and New Jersey residents to rebuild and resume their daily lives have been pushed back due to another storm.

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Parts of battered New Jersey received over 12 inches of snow Wednesday night, while in New York City and neighbouring Westchester County, more than 70,000 customers were without power. Homes and businesses who just had their electricity restored following Sandy in many cases found themselves without power again Thursday morning.

“My son who just got his power back has lost it again now thanks to this nor’easter,” says Staten Island resident Mark L. Fendrick on Twitter.

Dr. Katy Kamkar, a clinical psychologist at the Psychological Trauma Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, says that while people require survival kits like food, shelter and heat, the need for emotional, social and mental health support cannot be overlooked.

“Natural disasters represent a significant risk factor to the mental health of trauma survivors,” says Kamkar. “The more direct our exposure is to the natural disaster and the more involved we are, the more it is likely to influence us.”

Many homes were wiped out as Sandy ravaged the Caribbean, eastern United States and parts of Canada, leaving more than 100 people dead. Tens of thousands of people in the affected regions are still in need of finding emergency housing and-in some cases-long term shelter.

“It’s not going to be a simple task. It’s going to be one of the most complicated and long-term recovery efforts in U.S. history,” said Mark Merritt, president of Witt Associates, a Washington crisis management consulting firm to The Associated Press.

Have you survived a natural disaster and want to share your story with Global News? If so, please send an e-mail to [email protected] or click here

To date, damage from Sandy has been estimated at $50 billion-making it the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, right behind 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

Kamkar says the mental distress that is associated with natural disasters is often exacerbated by certain stressors, sometimes referred to as “psychological toxins.” Community devastation and destruction, displacement, homelessness, financial and job loss and loss of loved ones can all contribute to immediate or long-term mental health problems.

“[Disasters] can lead to the onset of a range of adverse mental health outcomes,” notes a 2002 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry that followed the long-term mental impact on disaster victims. “It can represent a further burden to any individuals whose physical and emotional resources have already been depleted by their losses.”

For those still reeling from Sandy, the additional challenges that people might experience following Wednesday’s storm can also significantly impact one’s mental health recovery.

“Any additional stressors and the associated uncertainty likely contribute to worsening of psychological distress,” says Kamkar.

The short-term and long-term mental impact
In the first few days to couple of weeks immediately after a natural disaster, experts say it is common for people to experience upsetting memories, flashbacks, bad dreams and feelings of intense distress. Often, those who have directly survived a natural disaster will shy away from talking about what happened and will steer clear of places that remind them of the trauma they endured.

“Once the symptoms continue, increase, interfere with daily activities or become more distressing over a prolonged period of time, it is vital to seek help as it might reflect some symptoms of PTSD,” says Kamkar.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is the most frequent and disabling psychological disorder that can occur following disasters. The anxiety disorder can occur when someone experiences, witnesses or is confronted with a traumatic event that has threatened their safety.

It can make them feel intensely fearful, helpless or horrified.

According to a 2006 study that focused on the extent and impact of mental health problems after a disaster, PTSD “has perhaps led to an underestimate of the importance of depression as a source of morbidity, particularly in populations in which there are major levels of loss that have an enduring effect.”

Kamkar says the more unpredictable and uncontrollable the traumatic event, the more likely the incident is to trigger PTSD.

The psychological phases after a traumatic event
According to several experts, there are three common psychological phases that people can go through after a surviving a traumatic event like a natural disaster.

Phase one is the impact phase. This is when people survive the natural disaster and they try to protect their lives, and the lives of others. It is common for people to find themselves in panic and shock.
Phase two is the post-disaster phase-the rescue phase. People try to withdraw from the impact of the traumatic event. Here, people might feel high anxiety, anger, sadness, and helplessness.

For example, across the New York and New Jersey (regions at the heart of the disaster), tempers were short in long lines for gas. In New York, a man was accused of pulling a gun on a motorist who complained when he cut in line at a gas station. No one was injured.

The recovery-or third phase-occurs when those who have survived the traumatic event try to readjust to their lives. The adjustment depends on the severity of the traumatic event and also on the injuries and losses people have experienced.

“The more severe the event, the more severe the injuries, the more severe the losses that people go through-the more difficult the adjustment phase becomes for people,” says Kamkar.

While people who have survived a traumatic event often go through the first three places, phase four is not as common. It is in this phase where symptoms of PTSD can occur.

The chance of someone’s symptoms developing into the anxiety disorder depends to what extent the person was affected by the traumatic event,” said Kamkar. “If the person had experienced previous traumatic events and the level of support the person is able to get after the event.”

Safety tips on returning home after a disaster – what now?

While experts say it is difficult to calculate what percentage of the general population is at risk of developing PTSD, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in the general population worldwide, the baseline prevalence of mild-to-moderate and severe mental disorder are around 10 percent and 2 and 3 per cent, respectively.

After a disaster, WHO says the general overall prevalence rates for mild-to-moderate and severe mental disorder are liable to increase to 20 and three to four per cent, respectively.

Those experiencing any signs of mental distress are encouraged to seek professional help and support from friends, family and the community. In New York, Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS) is providing free service for those affected by Sandy.

“By the amount of losses ahead of time prior to a natural disaster, we can help minimize the mental health problems people experience as well,” said Kamkar. “The more loss we experience, whether it’s our home, jobs or loved ones, the more stressors exist that can increase our risk of developing mental health problems after a natural disaster.”

– with a file from The Associated Press
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Colorado prisons chief shot, killed at home – National

MONUMENT, Colo. – Colorado’s top state prison official was shot and killed when he answered the front door of his house, setting off a hunt for the shooter and raising questions about whether the attack had anything to do with his job.

Tom Clements, 58, was shot around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Monument, north of Colorado Springs, and a witness reported a person driving away in a dark-colored “boxy” car that had its engine running at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

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Investigators were exploring all possibilities, including that the shooting could have been related to Clements’ job as executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, which he took after years working in Missouri corrections.

The killing stunned officials in both states.

At a news conference, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was red-eyed and sombre, speaking haltingly as he said he didn’t think the killing was part of any larger attack against his cabinet, members of which stood behind him, several of them crying. Others dabbed their eyes.

“Tom Clements dedicated his life to being a public servant, to making our state a better place and he is going to be deeply, deeply missed,” said Hickenlooper, who planned to go to Monument to meet with Clements’ family after signing gun-control bills.

While the motive of the killing wasn’t immediately clear, similar attacks on officials have been on the rise in the U.S., said Glenn McGovern, an investigator with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office in California who tracks such incidents worldwide. He said there have been as many in the past three years as the entire prior decade.

The attacks are often motivated by revenge, said McGovern, who has documented more than 133 attacks, including 41 homicides, against judges, prosecutors and other justice and police officials since 1950.

While Clements generally kept a low profile, his killing comes a week after he denied a request by a Saudi national to serve out the remainder of a Colorado prison sentence in Saudi Arabia. He cited al-Turki’s refusal to undergo sex offender treatment.

Homaidan al-Turki, a well-known member of Denver’s Muslim community, was convicted in state court in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, theft and extortion and sentenced to 28 years to life in prison. Prosecutors said he kept a housekeeper a virtual slave for four years and sexually assaulted her. A judge reduced the sentence to eight years to life.

Al-Turki insisted the case was politically motivated. He owned a company that some years ago sold CDs of sermons recorded by Anwar al-Awlaki, killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

Al-Turki’s conviction angered Saudi officials and prompted the U.S. State Department to send Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan and al-Turki’s family.

After Clements’ shooting, someone with the State Department called the Colorado Corrections Department. Prisons spokeswoman Alison Morgan said she had no details on the call other than to say it wasn’t connected to the shooting investigation and may have been a simple courtesy.

“They called us because we have a co-operative international program with them,” she said.

Attorney Henry Solano, one of al-Turki’s attorneys, said he has not been contacted by investigators. He refused to comment on the shooting.

Hickenlooper appointed Clements to the post in 2011. He replaced Ari Zavaras, a former Denver police chief who led the department under two governors.

Since October 2011, his wife, Lisa Clements, has been the director of a state office that oversees the state’s mental health institutes in Fort Logan and Pueblo, as well as community mental health and substance abuse centres.

Hickenlooper ordered flags lowered to half-staff at public buildings until the day after Clements’ funeral.

___

Associated Press writers Steven K. Paulson, Dan Elliott, Nicholas Riccardi, Alexandra Tilsley and Colleen Slevin in Denver and Maria Sudekum in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.

©2013The Canadian Press

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Homan posts two key wins at curling worlds – National

RIGA, Latvia – Canada’s Rachel Homan faced her biggest challenge yet at the women’s world curling championship Wednesday and came through with a pair of impressive victories.

She significantly improved her playoff chances in the process.

Homan entered the evening draw at the Volvo Sports Center in a tie with Switzerland for fourth place in the round-robin standings. The Ottawa skip played arguably her best game of the tournament in a 7-4 win over Silvana Tirinzoni.

The win allowed Canada to control its own playoff destiny.

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“Definitely in the driver’s seat,” Homan said. “This whole time we’ve been in control of our own fate so we just have to keep going.”

Homan beat Germany’s Andrea Schopp 8-5 earlier in the day.

The 23-year-old Canadian is tied with Russia at 6-3, good for third place in the standings. Homan will play China on Thursday morning and close out her round-robin schedule in the afternoon against Japan.

“We needed two wins to be a little bit more comfortable,” Homan said. “But it feels really good to play the way we did. I’m really proud of my team for pulling together and making those big shots and pulling through in the end.

“It was a really great day for my team.”

Canada was tested by the Swiss side and held a slim 4-3 lead after seven ends. Homan slid her last rock of the eighth end into a crowded four-foot ring to score three and put the game out of reach.

Homan had an impressive 94 per cent shooting percentage while Tirinzoni was at 86 per cent. Canada shot 88 per cent as a team compared to just 75 per cent for Switzerland.

“We had a great day today, a lot of good shots that we can put in the bank and just keep getting stronger for the weekend,” Homan said.

The top four rinks will qualify for the playoffs. Homan can lock up a tiebreaker appearance with one victory on Thursday and earn a playoff spot with two wins.

Sweden beat Russia 10-3 on Wednesday night and Scotland doubled Italy 8-4. Sweden and Scotland have locked up playoff spots and remain tied in first place at 8-1.

Switzerland and the United States were tied in fifth place at 5-4 while Japan and China were 4-5. Germany and Denmark were next at 3-6, followed by 2-7 Italy and winless Latvia at 0-9.

Earlier in the day, the Canadian players looked solid against the German veteran Schopp.

“Maybe once or twice the lines tricked us and that was pretty frustrating but it was a really well-played game by my team,” Homan said. “We’re just trying to hang in there with the ice and we pulled it out.”

Germany scored three heading into the halftime break but Canada regained the lead with a deuce in the sixth. Homan added a single in the seventh and stole another point in the eighth when Schopp missed a double takeout attempt.

Schopp drew for a single in the ninth but Homan had the advantage with the hammer in the final end.

The Canadian team posted an 83 per cent shooting percentage for the game while Germany was at 77 per cent. Homan hit 86 per cent of her shots, well ahead of Schopp at 73 per cent.

A few dozen fans were on hand for the morning draw. A pocket of flag-waving Canadian fans cheered on the Ottawa Curling Club team.

Attendance improved for the late draw with a few hundred fans taking in the action at the 1,000-seat venue.

This is Homan’s first appearance at this tournament. She’s hoping to win Canada’s first world women’s title since Jennifer Jones was victorious in 2008.

Heather Nedohin skipped Canada to a bronze medal at the 2012 world championship in Lethbridge, Alta. Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott won gold last year.

©2013The Canadian Press

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3 stabbed, 2 shot after violent night in Toronto – Toronto

TORONTO – A series of shootings and stabbings over the course of four hours has sent five people to Toronto hospitals Tuesday night.

A woman is in hospital with serious injuries after being stabbed twice during an altercation at a North York apartment building.

Police responded to a Toronto Community Housing complex on Weston Road, near Sheppard Avenue West, just after 7 p.m. where they found the victim suffering from stab wounds to the chest and leg.

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Officers say the female was involved in a verbal altercation with the suspect during a gathering inside an apartment when she was stabbed.

Police are looking for a 27-year-old black male, 5’10” to 6’0″, with a medium build and a trimmed beard. He was last seen wearing dark clothing.

Meanwhile, a man is in hospital after being stabbed multiple times at a Toronto Community Housing complex on Falstaff Avenue just before 10 p.m.

No details of the suspect have been released as the victim is not cooperating with police.

Around 10:15 p.m., officers responded to a call of a shooting at a community housing complex on Jamestown Crescent.

A man was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower leg and was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

There is no word on any suspects.

A short time later, police responded to a shooting at an apartment on Glenlake Avenue, just north of High Park subway station.

A man, believed to be in his mid 30s, was shot in the back after four men forced their way into the victim’s home.

The man was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Officers arrested a man a short time later near the scene of the shooting.

Police have setup a command post in the area as they continue to look for three other suspects.

A taxi driver is in hospital after being stabbed twice by a male passenger around 11 p.m. in the Jane Street and Wilson Avenue area.

The suspect robbed the victim before fleeing the scene.

Police have not released a description of the suspect.

©2013Shaw Media

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Federal nuclear liability to hit deficit – National

OTTAWA – A sudden $2.4-billion revision to Canada’s nuclear liabilities has crept up on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and substantially deepened the deficit for the current fiscal year at a time when he is trying desperately to whittle it down.

Analysts say there is probably enough wiggle room in the government numbers this year to absorb the $2.4 billion without throwing Flaherty’s longer-term deficit reduction plans too far off course.

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But the Opposition is suspicious of the timing of the discovery, suggesting the Conservatives are playing with budget numbers to mask their lack of oversight of environmental liabilities.

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. quietly announced Tuesday night that the expected long-term cost for cleaning up its nuclear program has surged to a total of $6 billion, up dramatically from the $3.6 billion currently on the books.

AECL said the increased liability will go straight to Ottawa’s bottom line, adding to the deficit for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

AECL said previous estimates were out of date and the indirect costs of disposing of radioactive waste over the next 70 years have climbed.

“The main reason for the liability adjustment is an increase in the indirect costs attributed to the decommissioning and waste management over the period of up to 70 years of the program,” says the AECL.

But cleanup costs should not be taking the government by surprise, said the NDP’s natural resources critic Peter Julian.

“It shows a profound inability to take the right management decisions to see what liabilities exist,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

It’s no coincidence that word of the large increase in liability is emerging just before Flaherty tables the spring budget, says Peter DeVries, an Ottawa-based consultant and former senior official at the Finance Department.

“They want to book it now, in 2012-13, because the year is nearly over. They want to get it out of the way,” DeVries said in an interview.

The 2012-13 fiscal year ends March 31 and the $2.4 billion will show up as a one-time hit on the government’s books for that year only — even though the money won’t actually be spent for years.

“It’s a year that is not important in terms of hitting their deficit target in 2015-16. They want to make sure they have got as complete a liability as they can come up with, and book it completely to get it out of the way,” DeVries said.

“The sooner they book this liability, the less of a chance it will spill into 2015-16.”

Indeed, before the AECL news, the federal government was probably on track to come in a couple of billion dollars ahead of where they had projected last fall, added Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Derek Burleton.

“Based on this year’s fiscal monitor results, they may have some wiggle room.”

So even though the revised AECL liability will set them back $2.4 billion, Ottawa is better off booking it this year than next year, he said.

That’s because economic growth is projected to slow more than Ottawa had expected next year, eating into federal revenues and making it difficult for Flaherty to get ahead, Burleton said.

Flaherty had previously projected a deficit of $26 billion for this fiscal year and many had expected him to beat that projection by a couple of billion dollars. Now that the increased AECL liability has been thrown into the mix, he will probably be close to his initial $26 billion when he tables the budget Thursday, Burleton added.

By dumping the full cost into the 2012-2013 fiscal year at the last moment, the Conservatives will then try to argue that they made huge progress in deficit reduction in 2013-2014, the NDP’s Julian added. But in reality, the 2013-2014 deficit will be smaller mainly because the AECL charge was a one-time hit.

Budget details will be made public Thursday, although it was not immediately clear whether the new AECL liability would show up in the budget documents.

For years, the federal government did not carry any liability for the inevitable cost of cleaning up nuclear waste.

But in 2005, officials began the process of trying to put a price tag on decommissioning, managing and safely disposing of AECL’s radioactive waste. That led to the $3.6-billion liability that was on the books last year.

Since then, expected costs have been rising around the world because of higher safety standards, a better understanding of decommissioning and low interest rates, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said in a statement.

So Ottawa ordered a second review in mid 2012, AECL said.

“Our government has a long-standing commitment to clean up historic radioactive waste sites for which it is responsible,” Oliver said in a written statement, pointing out that many of the liabilities date back decades to the beginning of Canada’s nuclear program.

“We remain committed to cleaning up these historical waste sites,” he said.

If that’s the case, then Canadians should brace themselves for more big liabilities down the road, said Greenpeace Canada’s nuclear analyst, Shawn-Patrick Stensil.

“Cost overruns are typical in the nuclear industry. With a place like Chalk River, which is a mess, I think we can expect many more,” Stensil said, referring to AECL’s headquarters in Ontario.

He says government number-crunchers have been struggling to get a grip on the cost of decommissioning for more than a decade, and it is now time to have a full, public airing of the issues and price tags involved.

Ottawa is in the midst of restructuring AECL and will issue incentive-based contracts for safe, efficient clean-up of nuclear waste, Oliver said in his statement.

He said the hit to Ottawa’s books would have been even worse if AECL had not kept their liability analysis up to date.

“This has allowed the government of Canada to discover this increase in costs earlier, which in turn has allowed us to formulate plans earlier. We will continue to take the actions necessary to protect Canadian taxpayers while ensuring that Canada continues to benefit from a strong nuclear sector,” Oliver said.

AECL has long been a drain on Ottawa’s finances, requiring billions in subsidies over the years. But it’s certainly not the only cleanup that will cost the government dearly.

Last spring, the federal environment auditor took the government to task for not setting aside enough money to deal with contaminated sites.

Scott Vaughan found that Ottawa would be facing at least $7.7 billion in cleanup costs but had only set aside a fraction of that amount of money.

AECL said that confirmation of its most recent calculations still need to be verified by its board, external auditors and the Office of the Auditor General.

©2013The Canadian Press

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Airplane Etiquette – BC

Many people hate flying and it’s not because they’re scared, but the annoying travelers that drive them crazy 30 thousand feet in the air. I have gone over the basics before…looking behind you before you recline your seat, giving the arm rest to the person stuck in the middle, and so on. But, there are definitely more travel faux pas out there and to make sure you aren’t the offender the next time you travel.

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Starting with being an overhead compartment hog. More and more people are choosing to carry-on to avoid checked luggage fees. Fill up the space under the seat in front of you first, if you can. Then use the bin that’s directly over your own seat.

Well, forget a child kicking the back of your seat, an adult fidgeting with the seat in front of them can be just as bad.Jamming your book, oversized water bottle and snacks into that seat pocket is super annoying to the person sitting in front of you and ends up poking them or shaking their seat.

This is also a problem with the new touch screens some planes have in the back of their head-rests. The rule here is to take care when placing items in the pockets and gently press on the touch-screen.

I’m a huge advocate for keeping kids occupied on the plane, but it’s important to make sure this is done quietly. Kids playing games together is great, but shouting and horseplay is not so fun for the passengers around you. Parents – make sure you control the noise level. This also goes for video games or portable DVD players with sound. Pop the headphones in or turn the volume down.

The next offender is the frequent bathroom tripper. Now I know when nature calls, well, it calls. But if you are someone that needs to get up to use the washroom frequently, do your other seat mates a favor and book an aisle seat. Getting up many times to let you in and out can be super annoying. Especially if your neighbors are trying to sleep.

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Australia respected Chretien on Iraq: Howard – National

OTTAWA – The United States may have been upset and disappointed by Canada’s refusal 10 years ago to join its coalition to invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

But Down Under, no one was surprised when then-prime minister Jean Chretien decided against sending Canadian troops to join those from the U.S., Britain and Australia.

Former Australian prime minister John Howard says he understood Chretien’s aversion to sending his country to war without a United Nations Security Council resolution.

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And although Howard didn’t agree, he respected the decision.

Howard offered that insight in a recent interview as the first decade since the U.S.- and British-led invasion of Iraq passed into history Wednesday.

Howard’s view differs sharply from the American reaction, which the then-U.S. envoy, Paul Cellucci, said days after the invasion amounted to “disappointment and upset that Canada is not there for us now.”

As for Howard — who contributed Australian special forces and fighter jets to the invasion — there were no hard feelings when it came to Canada.

“As far as Canada was concerned, I knew — given Jean Chretien’s attitude — that Canada was not going to join,” Howard told The Canadian Press in a recent interview in Ottawa. “I respected that decision. That was his right. That was his call.

“I didn’t have arguments with him about it.”

A decade later, the decisions taken by world leaders on the Iraq question have had political ramifications.

For Chretien, it elevated his battered legacy in Quebec, the most anti-war province, as he prepared to end his four-decade political career.

For former U.S. president George W. Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair, the citizens of their own countries have judged them harshly because of the high death toll. Their longtime political opponents now in hold power in their respective countries.

Almost 4,500 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq and 30,000 wounded. More than 100,000 Iraqis were killed.

Australia got in — and out — of Iraq remarkably unscathed. No Australians were killed in the initial invasion. In the years to come, a total of three Australian military personnel would lose their lives in Iraq.

“We were very fortunate,” Howard said. “We’ve taken some casualties in Afghanistan, but nothing like the casualties that Canada has taken. Canada has taken very high casualties in Afghanistan, very high.”

Howard said he knew Chretien well and enjoyed his company, even though the Canadian was further left on the political spectrum.

“We talked very frankly,”Howard recalled “He had a different view.

“He had a view that you shouldn’t do anything except with the authority of the Security Council. And that’s a view that a lot of people, more on the centre-left, hold now.”

But Howard said if you wait for the Security Council to act on important matters, “you wait interminably” because of the veto powers of the permanent members.

That view of the UN fits hand-in-glove with the one held by the current Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper and his cabinet ministers have snubbed and attacked the UN over the years. They have criticized the Security Council’s inability to deal with the Syrian crisis.

In 2003, the American decision on Iraq had one very notable, vocal supporter in Canada — Harper, then the leader of the opposition Canadian Alliance.

Harper told the House of Commons that Canada should have stood with its American ally.

In October 2008, Harper backed down from that when pressed during a televised leaders’ debate during the federal election campaign.

“It was absolutely an error,” Harper said. “It’s obviously clear the evaluation of weapons of mass destruction proved not to be correct.”

Harper and Howard, kindred political spirits, are good friends.

Harper drew lessons from Howard’s record of three majority election victories, prior to winning power himself in 2006. Later that year, Howard became the first foreign leader to call on the newly elected Conservative prime minister in Ottawa.

Almost two weeks ago, Harper and Howard had a private lunch in Ottawa.

Howard said he and Harper have discussed Iraq “in a general way,” but he wouldn’t divulge specifics.

Instead, he shifted the interview back to Chretien.

“We had a friendly relationship, although we had different views on a number of issues — not a lot of issues. When you get to head of state, head of government, the differences dissolve a bit. I enjoyed working with him,” said Howard.

“But philosophically, I’m obviously much closer to Harper.”

To this day, Howard said he has no regrets about contributing to the Iraq coalition, even though the main justification — relieving Saddam of his supposed arsenal of weapons of mass destruction — has been discredited.

“The intelligence was not doctored. It was not made up. It wasn’t based on lies. It didn’t turn out to be accurate. But intelligence can never be there beyond a reasonable doubt. If you wait for perfect proof, you get another Pearl Harbour don’t you?”

Howard said he doesn’t know how history will judge him, but he thinks it was been too hard on Bush.

“I thought Bush was courageous. I never felt Bush got the credit for keeping America free of another attack,” he said.

Howard was in Washington when the 9-11 attacks occurred. On Sept. 10, 2001, he met Bush.

“When this attack took place, the thing that preoccupied everybody was when and where the next attack would take place,” Howard said.

“It was in that context that Bush’s attention was focused.”

©2013The Canadian Press

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